Facebook rings Reliance Communications for free data access

February 10, 2015 02:55 pm | Updated 05:29 pm IST - Mumbai

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressing the inaugural session of the first Internet.org summit (October 9-10), in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressing the inaugural session of the first Internet.org summit (October 9-10), in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Anil Ambani led Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCOM) has partnered with Facebook to offer free data access to select popular websites for all its customers, existing and new ones.

The partners on Tuesday launched Internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to bring internet to everyone in the world.

Thirty three popular websites can be accessed free of cost through internet.org and all the subscriber needs to have is an internet enabled hand set. 70 per cent of RCOM's customers who have such phones are now off line and they are expected to benefit from this service.

In the first phase this service has gone live in seven circles of RCOM which include Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kerala.

The pan India launch is planned in 90 days. The target is to bring the power of Internet to a billion people, RCOM and Facebook officials said.

With this service all of RCOM's customers will access internet by using both the 2G and 3G enabled feature phones and Smartphones. At the moment, Android apps can access this service.

"Through this partnership with Facebook, we aim to increase internet inclusion and encourage more Indians to go online. This partnership will not only accelerate internet penetration In India, it will also open new socioeconomic opportunities to users in fields like education, information and commerce," said Gurdeep Singh, CEO, consumer business, RCOM.

"This is a big step forward in our efforts to connect every one in India to the internet and help people discover new tools and information that can create more jobs and opportunities," said Chris Daniels, vice president of Internet.org at Facebook.

Mr. Singh said that RCOM customers can access the 33 popular websites with zero data charge at www.internet.org on feature phones or in the internet.org Android app on smartphones. Most of these services will be available in several languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi to begin with.

The intention is to break the language barrier and make every one access internet to reap the benefit of information age.

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